The main stadium in the French city of Lyon opened as a mass vaccination center over the weekend, with thousands of people vacationing in line for injections elsewhere in France as the government tried to speed up the shooting amid a new wave of coronavirus outbreaks.
But as Europe struggled for the second time in a row with the epidemic, some French cities backed down from President Emanuel Macron’s claim that “there are no days off or days off during vaccinations.”
Authorities in Strasbourg, near the German border, have closed their vaccination facilities from Good Friday to Easter Monday, a public holiday in France, allowing workers to “finally take a break”, a city official said. To ensure residents still have access to potential rescue vaccines, the city has extended vaccination hours and delivered all its weekly doses from Monday to Thursday.
The city of Sarselle, north of Paris, was among those where officials kept vaccine sites open for fungal infections and demand on Sunday.
The surrounding Val d’Oise region now has the highest rate of coronavirus infection in France, and the situation in Sarsel symbolizes how the epidemic has exacerbated the existing inequality.
The working class of the city has a greater impact on the virus, as many can not work remotely. Many families in the area housing projects have multiple generations living in close quarters. Language barriers make classifying vaccination arrangements a challenge for many immigrants.
In Lyon, the French first division Olympic football club opened its stadium, providing 200 volunteers, medical staff and firefighters with a mass vaccination engine starting Saturday. Authorities expect 3,000 vaccinations a day at the stadium for the first three days.
The club’s president, Jean-Anne Michel Aulas, hoped the effort would help create “social cohesion” amid tensions and uncertainty as France entered a third partial blockade on Sunday.
At the same time, the French military announced that it would open seven vaccination centers to vaccinate civilians on Tuesday.
Vaccinations in Italy were held on Easter Sunday, and Monday was planned as a national holiday.
Accelerated action against Easter counteracts the slow release of vaccines in Europe during the holiday season.
As France lags behind Britain and the United States in vaccinating its population, the pace is accelerating. According to France, France has administered a total of 12 million vaccines, including almost 1 million in the last three days.
France reported the highest COVID-19 death toll in the world at 96,280, with the highest number of confirmed cases in Europe.